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Rare Portrait of Mozart at 13 Could Bring $1M

Christie's to auction the 1770 painting this month
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 13, 2019 5:15 PM CST
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The portrait was painted in Italy in 1770.   (Christie's)

(Newser) – A 1770 portrait of a young Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart will be sold at auction this month, and Christie's has set a guide price of as much as $1.3 million. The Austrian composer sat for the portrait while traveling in Italy with his father when he was 13, CNN reports. "The journey to Italy had become unavoidable on the path to recognition for every musician, no matter how young they were," Christie's says. The painting, generally attributed to Giambettino Cignaroli, shows Mozart in a white wig and red dress coat, playing a harpsichord. The auction house posted a photo of the portrait, one of four painted in Mozart's lifetime, here.

The painting has been in a private collection. "It is one of the very rare paintings for which we know about the history since the beginning," the head of the Old Masters department at Christie’s Paris says, per Reuters. It was made days after an organ concert by Mozart in Verona, commissioned by Pietro Lugiati, a tax collector. "Lugiati was very impressed by the talent of the young Mozart," the Christie's official says. (Read more Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart stories.)

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